Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

East Coast Love

last sun of the day
October 28, 2012

Sending my blog friends on the east coast positive thoughts and 
hopes for better weather in the wake of Sandy.

Stay safe everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Good Spread...and Colette Crepe Update!

Firstly...peanut buttery goodness.  This cause is near and dear to my heart as you well know, and I love ingenuity and creativity, as you also well know.

In a nutshell (hehe, peanut butter humor), these two reasonably handsome fellas have developed a peanut butter recipe that sounds amazing but more importantly is part of a much grander scheme to fight acute malnutrition with the help of MANA Nutrition.  If they can get their factory up and running next week, they'll be in a position to donate a packet of MANA nutrition for every Good Spread peanut butter sold.

Go. Donate. Spread. Eat. 

The Colette Crepe is coming along...the bodice is together (waiting on ties, I'm still digging through supplies looking for that blasted stripey ribbon) and I think I can finish it today. I hope so! It's going to be too cold to wear it if I don't get my tail in gear!

(I need a new steam iron. Ugh.)

I also have a stack of projects lined up behind this one and I'm itching to get crackin on a couple of them.

Like trying out these Juniper trousers also from Colette:


Or the super sweet and very retro Anise jacket:

And to quote the indomitable Tim Gunn...Carry on.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Burda Style: 11/12

Burda, ye have surprised me.  I LOVE this issue.  And I almost never love November! (the magazine issue, not the month. hehe.)

My favorite might be this vintage 1956 reprint, #138:

But there is a lot that I love in this one.  Love love love this plus sheath dress.  Wow. #146

Pretty sheath dress #122.  You don't see many tailored sheaths with long sleeves:

Another retro-inspired dress, #121 (also available as a peplum top):

Adorable jacket, #117:

Fitted plus tunic #142:

Love this skirt, a nice, tailored twist on a wardrobe staple, from the plus section #144:

And I probably have something similar, but I love these relaxed sweater things. They're so easy to sew and wear! #104

Another great basic, a-line skirt #124:

And the tie-neck top is included too, #109:

This issue is packed with other nice basics too, trousers, jackets, knit and woven tops, skirts.  If you don't subscribe, this is a great issue to pick up with a lot of bang for your buck!

I may be "off" my sewing game in recent months, but I wanted to take a moment to throw in my love for Burda Style/Burda World of Fashion magazine.  I well remember the days I started sewing from these magazines and the frustrations and bewilderment I felt trying to decipher oddly translated directions, no technical drawings and European fit. 

It was exhilarating!

There's a petition making the rounds suggesting changes to Burda Style magazine, and I feel your pain seamstresses.  My advice to beginners and those struggling with the crazy tracing "train tracks", the odd instructions, and the crazy fashion styled photo shoots... stick with it! If you keep working on your skills and learning new techniques, I promise the day will come when you don't really need Burda Style's directions to make that fabulous jacket or dress; you'll already possess the skills needed. 

With experience, you'll also get better and better at deciphering those train track pattern lines, more able to recognize the shapes you should be tracing for the different pattern pieces.

Experience is one of those things that you (unfortunately) can't rush or hurry along...have patience.  Burda Style remains, to me, a real treasure trove of sewing and fashion excitement, delivered right to my mailbox, every single month.  Even six years later.

(and luckily, I don't need those crack-crazy instructions very often. although sometimes I attempt them just for kicks and giggles. the nutty translations crack  me up!)

Viva la Burda Style!

Monday, October 22, 2012


I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts 
there can be no more hurt, only more love. 
~Mother Teresa

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A song in my head and a dress in my heart.

And a blog I adore.. But first, the song in my head. Do you watch the X-Factor?  Holy Amazeballs, Batman, I can't get enough of Carly Rose Sonenclar:

A fair portion of those 10 million youtube hits might be mine and my 3rd period class...we're all starstruck!

Nextly..I've got dress envy. Would you just look at this Colette Crepe?

Gorgeous, right?  Ok and summery, and I'm heading into fall, but I. Don't. Care.  I really want to sew a Crepe now.

This one is super cute too, love the Lizzy House fork fabric;

Frankly, I've been dreaming of this Crepe thing for a while now...ever since I noticed the dress Amy Adams wears in the final scenes of Leap Year was so similar in cut and style:

I had it all planned out in this post. I even still have the fabrics, prewashed and ready to go. Deep royal blue dotted swiss:

And a very-similar-to-the-original-dress chambray stripe:

All of which goes to show you...time has sped up way way WAY too fast this year and I plan way way WAY more than I will ever hope to accomplish.  Good thing the planning is fun.

I leave you with a blog I am loving right now, Miss Green.  She's adorable!  And has great style.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Just a quick drive by/catch up/bragging rights smallish post before I dash back out the door to the next thing on my to-do list this week (I teach a *mostly* senior citizen computer class on Thursday nights).


This lovely accessory (goes with literally everything, don't you think??) alas belongs not to me, but to the very handsome and eloquent Dain Blanton, 2000 Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist.  He was the speaker at a convention I attended this morning.

I also FINALLY received my 5/2012 Ottobre magazine, the fall women's issue.  Here are a few of my faves...

Just regular clothes, not high-er fashion (like Burda Style).  But you know what I wear every day??

Regular clothes.

So I like this issue.  Alot.

Also...just got a notice from AnySoldier that my "soldier" had updated his care page.  Have you ever visited

It's a pretty awesome site. You can choose a soldier or unit and read their page to see what items they are in need of (while deployed).  My soldier is in Afghanistan, so his unit would really like DVD's, headphones, protein bars and powder, weightlifting gloves...but their needs change occasionally and the soldiers can update their page at any time.

And of course, when they are shipped out somewhere else, or (hopefully soon) home, then that gets noted too.  It is a free site, and they email you the mailing address for your soldier's unit as soon as you request it.  Just don't request it until you're ready to ship the care package.  Things can change fast!

The holidays are fast approaching (as much as I'm in denial).  Remember a soldier's unit this Christmas season!

Gotta run...

ps...for smartypants Kristine. I was TOTALLY listening.  Yup.

Sunday, October 07, 2012


I'm going to tell you a story, a true story, one that I've never shared before.  With anyone.

I was married at 22 and divorced at 26.  My husband cam home one day a week before Christmas, a few days before my son's 3rd birthday, and filled a black Hefty garbage bag with his belongings and then walked out.  Lu was four months old.  I was not working and we were left essentially penniless; he left on "pay day" and he didn't give any of that money to us before driving away.

I remember those days leading up to Christmas as a hazy blur...I remember making mini cinnamon rolls from Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and watching hours of Thomas the Tank.  I remember the way Lu's head smelled, powdery and sweet and the way she buried her face in my  neck.  I remember wondering how I was going to buy stocking stuffers for G's stocking on Christmas Eve..the first Christmas he might actually "get it".  

I remember tying one leg of a springed riding horse to the door handle of my bedroom, and the other to the leg of an antique desk, so I had enough leverage to attach the springs and put the thing together before G woke up.

I remember sitting on the carpeted floor, staring at it in all of its insanely cheery western glory when it was finished. I probably cried.  I don't remember that part.

I remember my baby girl, brought home early on Christmas Eve from a visit with her dad, because she wouldn't stop crying, and how this time she smelled of cheap perfume and cigarettes.  And how she got sick later, because they kept feeding her, stuffing the bottle in her mouth to get her to shut up.  And how both babies slept with me that night.

That was the night we three became...what we are today.  The three musketeers.  A team.  Fierce.


I had to go on public assistance for a while.  People told me not to be ashamed, that that's what it was for, people like me.  But I was.  Ashamed.  I was embarrassed and sad and I drove an hour away to buy groceries so I wouldn't see anyone I knew.  And they wouldn't see me. 

So no one would see me.

When I would buy groceries, I made sure we were clean and pressed and neat and tidy. I suppose I hoped our outward appearance would be proof to those who might judge my form of payment, that I was the one who...needed help, but wouldn't take advantage of it.

It didn't matter, in the end.  One day, after ringing up a cart full of groceries and swiping my state card, the cashier sneered at me, telling me I didn't have any money on it.  Which was impossible...I was insanely obsessive about calling to check the balance before I went shopping and I only went once a month. I literally could not handle the trip more than that. I wouldn't sleep the night before, the weight of the dread crushing me with its hopelessness.

I asked her to try again, nervously ignoring the four or five people stacking up in line behind me.  She swipes again and announces loudly to the line that I don't have enough money, it will be a few moments.

The man behind me, smiling kindly, touching my elbow, asking if he could pay for me.

The cashier, scoffing, teling him I'm on food stamps, not to bother.

The people staring, the...the everything.

I don't remember getting to my car, but I was in my car next.  I sat in the parking lot, babies strapped in their carseats, no groceries. Nothing.  I remember crying this time.

I drove back towards home, across a bridge, but had to pull over.  I couldn't see. 

I sat in a parking lot next to the lake, the war in my head between the desperate need to hide, to burrow deep and never come out, and the simple fact that there was almost no food left at home.  I found a pay phone.  I dialed the card number and checked the balance.  Of course it was full.

Of course.

The kids, they had been so good, a full hour in the grocery store, at least to fill that cart.  The stopping and starting and stopping again while their mother fell to pieces and then tried to stitch herself back together again, to be the adult, to be the strong one.  They were so good...never fussing, happy, smiling babies.  Kisses, hugs.  I drove back to the grocery store, unable to face going to a new one, starting over from scratch.

My full cart was at the front end desk, in the process of being "returned".  They were annoyed. Until I explained and had them check the card, one more time.  Then there was pity there, and sorrow and remorse, but not enough. I don't think there is enough remorse for what happened to me that day.  

I made it.  I made it through that awful, awful day. And a thousand more nearly as bad, but not quite.  Nothing will ever be quite as bad as that day.

Last week I had an interview with a nonprofit organization for a volunteer position that, quite frankly, I'm underqualified for. The experience was both bewildering and humbling.  And since then, when I have felt small and inconsequential, and fearful that I am pursuing something that I am not meant to have, or not meant to be, I remember that 26 year old single mother, and that awful, awful day.

Nothing can be as bad as that, and I have come so far.  So far.

I remember the man who offered to pay for my babies' food.  I remember the pure anger I felt for the cashier who so callously threw me to the wolves.  And I doesn't really matter what my qualifications are, or are not.  It matters that I am talented and eager and a hard worker.  That I have compassion.

They don't teach compassion in college.

They should.

My niche is waiting to find me, and I it.  We'll get there.  For once in my life, I don't have that panicky feeling, like I should hide and let the fear weight me down, hold me back.

I'm free.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

wednesday wisdom - a must see.

One of the singular most powerful Wednesday Wisdom's 
I have ever posted. 
Jennifer, YOU ROCK.